Guterres has repeated a call for Israel to drop its United States-backed plans, which could be put in motion as soon as next week. If implemented, the UN secretary-general said, annexation would "grievously undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations. I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans."
Guterres's call was echoed by other leaders and foreign ministers addressing a UN virtual meeting Wednesday, warning that Israel's unilateral action could trigger a major escalation in the region.
Wednesday's meeting is seen as the last international one before Israel starts planned discussions on July 1 over the annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war illegally and has continued occupation despite international calls for evacuation.
At the UNSC meeting, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN peace envoy for the Middle East, warned of the legal, security and economic implications of such a move.
The annexation plan is the latest example of Israeli regime using violence and tensions as a means of furthering control over important regions and sites in the occupied Palestinian territory and normalizing heightened apartheid measures by Israeli forces targeting Palestinians.
The United Nations might have expressed concerns about the current situation, but that’s not enough. The world body should denounce the plan. It should also condemn Israel for killing Palestinian protesters in broad daylight and in great violation of UN Charter.
Israeli regime policy toward the Palestinians as well as the unconditional support it gets from Washington play the key part in driving Tel Aviv's increasing violence and new annexation plan in the West Bank.
The United Nations is required to step in and identify and condemn the continued drivers of violence and occupation. The world body should take action against Tel Aviv’s illegal settlement expansion within the occupied West Bank, overly aggressive military tactics, and a growing lack of hope in achieving Palestinian right for freedom and self-determination.
All of these are long-standing criticisms toward Israel, but rarely articulated by the UN, let alone Trump’s administration, which has been pushing for a US crackdown on the Palestinians as a way to show support for Israel.
That said, no matter what the UN thinks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: International Law, International Humanitarian Law, and UN Charter all protect the Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination. They also protect UN member states’ right to engage in boycotts against the usurper regime of Israel.
In fact, boycotting Israel could be one of the brightest stars in UN’s Charter. It’s a form of lawful and collective action that allows member states to make their voices heard, when the long-suffering people of Palestine need it the most.
For precisely this reason, the General Assembly should hold that UN Charter protects the right to boycott Israel. It’s a landmark decision to protest the Israeli regime's persistent racial inequality and segregation on occupied Palestinian lands.
In ringing language, the General Assembly can hold that the boycotters’ exercise of their rights to change an apartheid order, which has consistently treated Palestinians as not even second-class citizens but as people who deserve no right, rests on the highest rung of the hierarchy of UN values.
At a time when Israel continues to steal land and kill Palestinians for staying on their lands and in their own homes, the right to boycott Israel can no longer be allowed to go under assault. No member state, including the US, should be allowed to stamp out boycotts and divestment campaigns aimed at Israel.
The UN can and should immediately pass a resolution that supports the BDS movement and prohibits member countries from doing business with Israel.